The Eastern Africa Grain Council (EAGC), and the Technical Centre for Agricultural and Rural Cooperation ACP-EU (CTA), have jointly launched a project aimed at enhancing structured grain trade in Eastern Africa that will see investments in excess of Kshs 3 Billion over the next 3 Year period. Trade in grains such as maize, wheat, rice, beans, pulses, sorghum, millet in the region is generally not structured and is predominantly informed by small, medium traders and is affected by many issues such as high fluctuation in prices, which is characteristically lowest at harvest and higher first before the next harvest. Other concerns such as the quality and safety of the food grains have continued to hamper trade. Such concerns include the trade in aflatoxin contaminated grains which is made worse by poor storage and handling of grains after harvest.
In a structured trading system, farmers aggregate their produce to create economical quantities which they store in certified warehouses after being graded and are stored safely to guarantee the quality and quantity. The depositors are issued with a warehouse receipt as a title of the deposited grains and they can use the warehouse receipt to secure credit advance from the bank as they wait to sell the produce at a later day. On the other hand the processors and miler buy the grains from the certified warehouses which grains have been graded and safely stored. Such a system has a structure in terms of receiving, grading, storing and selling of the grains.
The project is in line with the EAC food Security and Nutrition action plan which seeks to create a harmonized approach for enhancement of food security in the East African region and the Africa Union Commission CAADP Pillars which seek to increase resilience at all levels by decreasing food insecurity and linking vulnerable people into opportunities for agricultural growth and improved Rural Infrastructure and market Access.
Speaking at the Launch, Vincent Fautrel, the Senior Programme Coordinator of Agricultural Value Chain Development, said CTA was excited to be working with EAGC on this innovative project and to contribute to improved grain trade in Eastern Africa. This is
The EAGC Executive Director, Mr. Gerald Masila appreciated the support from CTA which also supported in publishing the first structured trade handbook in Africa.
The project will unveil new innovations, including use of ICTs in trade through the EAGC Regional Agricultural Trade Intelligence Network (www.ratin.net), inauguration of the first regional knowledge platform on food grains, development of an e- learning grain trade platform, to support grain trade in Eastern Africa. The project will also offer scholarships on structured trade to boost knowledge and skills in the area. This will be through partnership with local universities in the region and hosted under the Eastern Africa Grain Institute (EAGI).
This will be achieved through the following broad frameworks
- Capacity Building of Grain Stakeholders in Structured Trading Systems (STS)
- Effective adoption and use of Regional Grain Standards
- Better use of market intelligence services and development of ICTs to improve the performance of the grain value chain
- Policy dialogue on STS and multi-stakeholders engagement
The trade benefits to the various value chain stakeholders including farmers, traders, warehouse managers, processors is that they are able to produce trade and market products more effectively and cost effectively. With Structured trading systems, the challenges of production, storage, financing, access to markets, traceability, policy, information, capacity and skills price, volatility, are all addressed and streamlined, leading to increased investment, employment and food availability.